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Old State Capitol Ceiling, 1932
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


“It is more important now to be in love than to be in power. It is more important to bring E. O. Wilson’s biophilia into our daily conversations than it is to remain compliant in a time of extinction, ethnic cleansing, and rising seas. It is more important to live for the possibilities that lie ahead than to die in despair over what has been lost.”

“In this trembling moment, with light armor under several flags rolling across northern Syria, with civilians beaten to death in the streets of Occupied Palestine, with fires roaring across the vineyards of California, and forests being felled to ensure more space for development, with student loans from profiteers breaking the backs of the young, and with Niagaras of water falling into the oceans from every sector of Greenland, in this moment, is it still possible to face the gathering darkness, and say to the physical Earth, and to all its creatures, including ourselves, fiercely and without embarrassment, I love you, and to embrace fearlessly the burning world?” — Barry Lopez


“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The question might also be “How do you love?” If we can’t see God everywhere, in everything, we can’t love. We have to discover the Great Spirit where it lives, in us and in everything in existence. Our fantasy that nature is dead, that animals and even humans of a different race don’t feel pain, is killing us. Our imagination of life is small, but it is powerful enough to extinguish a whole planet. Somehow our tools keep getting bigger while our hearts keep shrinking. It’s a lethal combination. We have bombs capable of wiping out millions of living beings, but not the kindness to weep at the tragedy of it.

We are dangerous animals. Too many of us kill on purpose, for the pleasure of killing. No other animal does that. We are attracted to the sensation of power because we don’t want to confront our weakness. We collect guns and muscle cars and money and status because we’re hiding from our nakedness. We are all transitory beings, walking the earth for a brief moment, and we refuse to consider the implications of that.

Waking up is hard to do. Seeing our privilege just to be alive in this garden called Earth requires removing our blinders. Compassion is the recognition that we all share the same plight, that we could all use a helping hand, that we are all family, regardless of the size, shape and color of our bodies.

Humans will have to become intelligent if we are to survive.

Beyond survival though, is where we must go. Thriving is what the world needs now. We have to find joy, which is the epicenter of creation. The dancing universe is not visible to most of us but when the blinders are removed, the intense delight and love at the fundaments of the physical universe is astounding. Living a routine existence, most of us never suspect the love that supports everything. If we did, we would take better care of things.

We have come to a time when wanton destruction of life is our own suicide. The feedback has become practically immediate. Will that focus our attention? Will we make the connection?

Making the rational connection is not the same thing as falling in love with God’s creation, but maybe it’s the first step.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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